How to Break Free from Your Corporate Job & Start Freelancing
A Guest Post By Irene Enriquez
You probably have imagined it like a thousand times: handing your resignation letter and telling your colleagues that you’re pursuing a freelance life. But the thing is, this only happens in your imagination. You have to pay the bills, so you stay in your corporate job with a steady paycheck.
Before I became a freelance writer, I was working full time as a call center agent for three years. After that, I worked as a full-time writing tutor. All those years, I wanted nothing more than to call myself a “freelance writer.”
The good news is that I’m now a freelance writer, happily working with clients from abroad. Next week, I am meeting my client from Israel, Iddo Goren. Mr. Goren is the Founder and CEO of Veems, an Israeli tech startup. Our team is dispersed from around the world: Israel, Spain and the Philippines. One of the cool perks of being a freelancer!
If you’re stuck in a corporate job, but you can’t brush off the idea of becoming a freelancer, these steps can help you slowly build the life you want while minimizing all the risks associated with freelancing.
Build and then burn
Make sure that you have solid footing first before you embark on your freelancing journey. How do you do that? First, you must build the skills you need in order to succeed at freelancing. While a lot of the things you do in your corporate job will be helpful as you transition to your freelance work, there are other skills and values you must develop in order to score the projects you truly want.
Are you currently working as a call center agent? If you want to become a freelancer writer, you need a writing portfolio to show to your potential clients. You might want to start blogging to flex your writing muscles. This will also help you establish a writing routine.
Some skills you might want to learn:
- Communicating effectively on various social media channels
- Building a WordPress blog
- Better time management skills
- Crafting the perfect pitches to editors
Set your own “it’s time to quit” criteria
Knowing when to quit is probably one of the hardest codes to decipher. After all, there’s no blueprint for freelancing. So, how do you know when to quit? Set your own criteria.
You might not notice it, but you actually set criteria for almost everything. For instance, if you follow a healthy diet, you have criteria on which meals you consider healthy. For some people, they have sworn off white bread and eat at least one type of fruit for each meal. The same can principle can be adapted when quitting your job and moving on to freelancing.
When I quit my full-time job as a writing tutor, I set these criteria:
- Secure three recurring projects for the next three months
- Total income from the projects should be equivalent to my monthly salary
- Two published articles outside of my blog
I set these criteria in March 2014. By June 2014, I was able to check each one of them! When Mr. Goren hired me as a part of their multi-talented team, I finally burned the bridge to my full-time job.
Your criteria will be a lot different from mine. You probably want to secure a project for the next six months. Or you want to save three month’s worth of your salary to give you enough time to find clients.
Get your feet wet
The truth is you don’t have to go all out when it comes to freelancing. If you manage your time well, you can actually handle freelance projects while working full time.
This allows you to get your feet wet. It gives you a taste of what it’s like to work on a project basis instead of getting a monthly salary. Marie Forleo, writer and entrepreneur said, “Clarity comes from engagement.” As you work full time, try to engage yourself with freelancing activities as much as you can. Attend workshops during weekends. Start creating your home office space. Sign up for a Paypal account. If you enjoy these things, then you can say for sure that the freelance life is for you.
Take the plunge
After you’ve set the criteria of when to quit and slowly building the things you need, you’ll feel more confident to hand in your resignation letter. You won’t panic since you’ve already secured projects for the foreseeable future. You have saved enough money. You’ve done all your homework. It will still feel like you have lost one of your limbs, but you’ll feel free and independent.
About the author:
Irene Enriquez is the Head of Communications at Veems. She loves working with tech savvy entrepreneurs with big dreams! She is currently on VeemsCast, a progressive broadcasting tool to help writers and bloggers engage with their readers. Click here to get early access and sign up for a beta program.
Photo credit: Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net/FrameAngel